Floral Graduation Dress


Last weekend my littlest brother graduated from college. Congratulations, bro-yo!  He’s off to Yale next year, making the rest of us look like we’re sitting at home twiddling our thumbs. Of course, I made a dress to celebrate the occasion. 

You might notice that this dress looks nothing like the inspiration dresses I posted. There’s a reason for that.  I started (and got quite close to finishing) making a dress from the fabric I ordered using McCall’s 7119.  Once the dress was 95% finished (we’re talking just hem and one seam left to finish; see pic below), I tried it on, and the fit was terrible. Like bodice four sizes too big terrible. I should know by now not to make a wrap dress. It’s still hanging on my mannequin unfinished.  If you know anyone who is approximately my size in the waist, but much larger above the waist, send them my way. I’m happy to give my dress away.  I think it’s quite cute.


The dress I ended up making is from a TNT pattern for me, NewLook 0180, aka NewLook 6184.  I made this dress once before (here) using a stretch woven cotton.  For this version, I used a linen blend with a small percentage of stretch in it. I bought this fabric in my little floral shopping spree a few weeks ago. I made the same bodice as my last version, but used the flared skirt for this round.

I had to make the same adjustment to the pattern as last time, taking a large triangle out of the back bodice. Fortunately, I went back and reread my old blogpost and made the adjustment before attempting to put in the zipper. This time, I saved the removed triangle that I cut out so that I can adjust the pattern before cutting out my next version.

Construction-wise, this dress was pretty easy since I have made the pattern before. I upped the ante this time with my seam finishes and used French seams throughout–even on the waist. The only exception is the back seam with zipper, which I covered in bias tape. I love how joyful this dress looks on the inside, and the outside of course, since it is a celebratory dress.


The weather for graduation wasn’t the 90-degree sauna that I had expected.  Having gone to two graduations in the same stadium at the same time of year, I was confident that a cool linen dress was the way to go. This time around, though, it was about 50 degrees and rainy. I don’t have any pictures of my full get-up, but in addition to the dress, I wore a sweater, a fleece, a raincoat, and a poncho. There was no way that I was not going to wear the dress I made just for the occasion.

After we got out of the rain, and back indoors, I finally got to shed some layers–and eat some delicious food! Being linen, I had expected my dress to wrinkle like crazy.  These pictures were spent after sitting through the 3.5 hour ceremony, though, and it looks pretty wrinkle-free. Score.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 10.12.13 PMIt all came full-circle at graduation. My little brothers and I all went to the same university. I like to say I started a trend, and my brothers wanted to be just like me. Unknowningly, my little brother had made lunch reservations at the very same restaurant I went with my parents the day I moved into my freshman dorm. This time I wasn’t quite as nervous.

Pattern: NewLook 0180 in size 8
Fabric: 2.5 yards of floral cotton sateen from Joann Fabrics
Cost: $19.48 fabric + $1.49 interfacing + $1.99 bias tape + $1.25 zipper = $24.21
Time: 8 hours

7 thoughts on “Floral Graduation Dress

  1. Ruth A. Rodgers

    Lovely dress! Such fabulous attention to detail! About your gorgeous wrap dress, you seem very savvy about sewing, it’s a shame the bodice didn’t work. I wondered if you had seen McCalls Pattern website that has videos on tissue fitting so you can make adjustments to the pattern before it’s laid on the fabric? I am working on a wrap dress as well (M6959) and used the info to make adjustments to the length and back width. Hopefully it will be a winner. Thanks for your great pictures and sewing adventures.


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